‘Three Little Birds’ first look: BritBox’s post-Windrush 1950s drama begins soon

BritBox has unveiled a sneak peek at Three Little Birds!

From the makers of The Good Karma Hospital, the “life affirming” new period drama is written by Sir Lenny Henry (The Long Song, Chef).

The upcoming six-part mini-series is inspired by Henry’s mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica in the 1950’s for Great Britain, which became her lifelong home and where she raised her family.

Described as “spirited, moving, funny and utterly heartfelt,” Three Little Birds began filming last year for BritBox and ITV.

The show’s stars recently appeared with Sir Lenny Henry at 2023’s BAFTA TV Awards:

“My mother spoke often about how difficult life was back in the day when she first arrived in Britain to begin her new life,” Henry recalled back in 2020.

“The stories she told and indeed the narratives my brothers and sisters beguiled me with over the dinner table made me think about writing a fictional account of three Caribbean women; all with differing yet complementary attributes – a serious tenacious one, a quick witted flibbertigibbet and a Christian prude.”

Leading the cast are Rochelle Neil (Guilt), Yazmin Belo (What Just Happened), and Saffron Coomber (EastEnders).

Here’s a look at Yazmin Belo as the bible-loving Hosanna:

The official synopsis reads: “Set in 1957, post-Windrush, and amidst the booming decade set alight by promise, the rhythm of rock and roll, swing, Hollywood starlets, and fabulous fashion, Three Little Birds will introduce Dudley and the rest of the world to gregarious sisters Leah (Neil), and Chantrelle (Coomber) and their virtuous, bible-loving acquaintance, Hosanna (Belo), as they board a cruise ship from Jamaica bound for a new life in Blighty.

“Lured to the UK in search of new beginnings by their older brother Aston, who asks Leah and Chantrelle if they’ll bring him a potential wife from back home, they convince Hosanna to give up her job as a trainee nurse and embark upon the journey to the mother country.

“An effervescent mix of strong personalities, they all have very different reasons for leaving their family and friends behind in Clarendon, Jamaica, though they soon discover it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, not least the dramatic change in weather.

“While we learn shocking truths about the lives they left behind the voyage of discovery is not smooth sailing for our trio, but they are determined to succeed and overcome the many obstacles of integration and build a new life in Britain.”

Here’s Rochelle Neil playing Leah:

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to give a voice to such a pioneering generation, in all their complexities,” said Rochelle Neil last year.

“In many ways, Leah feels like a love letter to my grandmothers. A chance to explore the lives of the women that led to me being here and who I am today. I know they both would have been absolutely thrilled, as am I.”

The cast also includes Javone Prince (Dodger) as Leah and Chantrelle’s older brother Aston, and Bobby Gordon (Hollyoaks) as the sisters’ new factory-worker colleague Shelton.

Arthur Darvill (World on FireBroadchurch) and Beth Hayes (Mr Selfridge) are playing Chantrelle’s employers Mr and Mrs Wantage.

Three Little Birds is set to premiere soon on ITV1 and streaming on ITVX in the UK, and on BritBox in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Nordics.

Take a look at Saffron Coomber playing the glamorous Chantrelle here:

“I screamed when I found out that I was cast in Three Little Birds,” Saffron Coomber previously revealed.

“It is an honour to tell an overlooked story of British history that is so close not only to my family but to so many, notwithstanding working with Lenny whom has been a legend in my home since I can remember,” she added.

Three Little Birds is being executive produced by Nolly and A Very English Scandal writer Russell T Davies.

Sir Lenny Henry’s memoir Who Am I, Again? is available on Amazon.